Democratic Audit of Russia:
Part I. The Parliament
We are falling head over hills from the category
of "partially free" states into the category
of "non-free" countries
The "Public Expertise" Institute has summed
up the first stage of the large scale research project named
the "Democratic Audit of Russia".
The aim of the project is to define a place of today's
Russia on a scale of democratic development. National democratic
audit is not our invention. Such kind of "thermometers"
defining democratic degree of the country already exist
in the Great Britain, Sweden and other countries of the
world. The World Democratic Audit information reports are
published annually. According to the estimations of "Freedom
House", one of the most known "measuring instruments
of freedom", till now Russia was included into a category
of "partially free" countries.
Preliminary results of national democratic audit of
the country conducted by the "Public Expertise"
Institute, compel to bring an attention to the question
of changing the diagnosis: Russia rolls down into the category
of "non-free" countries. The transfer from "ward
of patients" into "ward of gravely ill patients"
is done on the basis of several symptoms. In Russia actually
there is no separation of powers; there was a return to
one-party system in which the Soviet hybrid: the party -
the state is formed again, parliamentary opposition is actually
absent, and there is a nationalization of a civil society
process going on.
The establishment of the diagnosis is not a game of
words and not putting labels, but the procedure necessary
for mobilization of internal resources of the country and
also for our partners abroad to correctly understand what
they collide when dealing with our country.
In the summer of 2005 the IV Russian Duma finished three
from eight sessions put to it, i.e. has lived more than
1/3 of term afforded to it. And, in spite of the fact that
even more than half of time still remains, it is already
clear how it represents itself as parliament and with what
it will enter the history of the Russian parliamentarism,
and what it has made with Russia for one and a half year.
The I State Duma worked only two years, but for this term,
twice smaller than for the subsequent one, the first Russian
parliament has passed the fundamental laws defining a basis
public legal relations - the Civil Code of the Russian Federation
and the Family Code of the Russian Federation, basic laws
in sphere of the state system - "On the Constitutional
Court of the Russian Federation" and "On Control
Chamber of the Russian Federation".
If the I Duma was mainly legislative, the second has been
doomed to political struggle, being like the Supreme Soviet
of the Russian Federation in 1992 - 1993, in a rigid confrontation
with executive powers. Legislative activity of deputies
of the second convocation in a significant part was rejected
by the President. And much that was accepted does not maintain
democratic audit. For example, the Criminal Code adopted.
The III Duma there was a propresidential majority that,
certainly, stimulated legislative process, rather fruitful,
though unequivocal. The great bulk of the accepted laws
causes objections from the point of view of conformity to
public interests (the Labor Code, UPK, GPK, KoAP, reform
of judicial system, pension reform, the Law "On citizenship
of the Russian Federation", the law on import of nuclear
The III Duma began process of pushing out democratic institutes
and verticalization of political system: the Council of
Federation has been transformed into fiction, the draconian
law on political parties was accepted, local self-government
was built in an imperious vertical.
The IV Duma is the successor of the third one. But the
tendencies which already reached their limit in the III
Duma, were driven to the grotesque by the parliament elected
in 2003, which was expressed by the speaker of the present
Duma, Mr. Boris Gryzlov: "the State Duma is not a place
for political debates".
It is possible to name nine basic characteristics of the
IV State Duma in comparison with its three predecessors.
First. During formation of the IV State Duma the maximal
distortion of will of voters has been admitted. One
of principles of democracy is equality of representation:
"one person - one vote". For an estimation of
observance of this principle in comparative political science
usually the parameter called "amplitudes of distortion"1
is used: comparison of shares of the votes received by parties
and shares of the places distributed in parliament.
"The amplitude of distortion" for four Russian
parliaments is reflected in the table
Terms of authority
«Amplitude of distortion»
By elected into Duma
By all participants in election
1993 – 1995
1995 – 1999
1999 – 2003
2003 –till now
Essence of these figures is that some parties have appeared
"underrepresented" in the State Duma in comparison
with percentage of votes, and others were "overrepresented".
Record of "overrepresentation" in history of the
Russian parliamentarism belongs to the party "Edinaya
Rossiya", which has received 37, 6 % of votes in elections
to the IV State Duma and has got 67,6 % of places in the
lower house. Distortion of a principle "one person
- one vote" reached its extreme. Each supporter of
"Edinaya Rossiya" actually received two votes.
Each communist, member of "Rodina" and "LDPR"
has today less than one vote, and members of "Yabloko",
representatives of the "right", "agrarians"
and other parties, in general appeared unvoiced the nearest
4 years. Distortions of will of voters appears on any elections
in any parliament of the world. But what happened in elections
of 2003 applies for a world record. There was a deprivation
of the political rights of almost two thirds of citizens.
80 years ago, under the Constitution of 1924, 15 categories
of citizens have been deprived of the rights. Today the
"deprived" people became such not under the law,
but in fact.
Second. The IV State Duma became first actually one-party
Russian parliament after liquidation of the Communist Party.
The majority of systems of measurement of democracy2
uses such parameters, as level of monopolism of party in
power in parliament, a reality of a political competition
and a share of votes in the parliament, received by opposition.
Comparing four Russian State Dumas on these parameters,
we shall receive a following picture:
||Terms of authority
||Ruling party (% of voters)
||Allies (% of voters)
||% voters received by ruling
party together with allies
||Opposition parties, coalitions
(% of voters)
||% of votes received by opposition
1993 – 1995
Vybor Rossiy (17,11%)
Y-B-L Block. (5,78%)
||1995 – 1999
||1999 – 2003
||«Regiony Rossiy» (10,16%)
||«Edinaya Rossiya» (67,56%)
Thus, for the first time in history of the newest parliamentarism,
the one-party parliament in which the opposition has no
even decorative functions, was generated in 2004
If in first two State Dumas the progovernmental parties,
having together less than fifth share of votes, were compelled
to coordinate their plans with opposition, to negotiate
and search for compromises, i.e. to be engaged in real parliamentary
work, in the III Duma this work was reduced to a minimum,
and in the IV Duma essentially and consciously liquidated.
Third. Elections to the IV Duma were utmost dishonest
and unfair. The state TV channels showed an obvious
skew in favor of "Edinaya Rossiya" and against
the Communist Party of the Russian Federation that were
compelled to recognize even the Central Electoral Committee
which was limited to address the precautionary letter to
the heads of TV channels. The indirect reaction of citizens
to injustice of election campaign was showed in the highest
percent, for all newest history of parliamentarism in Russia,
of the citizens which voted against all candidates.
Terms of authority
Against all candidates,%
1993 – 1995
1995 – 1999
1999 – 2003
2003 – till now
Fourth. The IV State Duma became the only House of the
Russian parliament. Since 2004 the Federal Assembly became
This statement is based on two circumstances. First, if
in the previous parliament the "sieve" of the
upper house still somehow influenced work of the lower one,
the present State Duma during passing of laws, does not
take Council of Federation into account at all. Secondly,
the Council of Federation became illegitimate after a canceling
of elections of governors. Half of members of the Russian
senate are appointed by governors who are appointed in turn
by the President. Contrary to the Constitution, exactly
half of members of Council of Federation has nothing to
do with subjects of federation which they "represent".
When Ms. Narusova, lady from St. - Petersburg, and Mr. Pugachev,
the banker from the same city, both "represent"
the Tuva region, it is difficult to call such house of Parliament
as "representative". It is more similar to formation
of any enforcement authority.
Fifth. Judging by character of functioning and new "regulations"
the IV State Duma has lost attributes of parliament and
was transformed to authority body. This transformation
has occurred as a result of following changes in the rules
and in practice of work of the State Duma: